Friday, August 16, 2019

Annie on my Mind: an early LGBT novel

Greetings, commies!
Some of you have kids, which means, for some of you it's back to school time! What did YOUR kids read this summer? If they are done with their mandatory reading, it's not too late to squeeze in another YA book. Consider Annie On My Mind, a story of two high school senior girls whose shared interest in art leads to an anticipated romance that threatens to destroy their social and academic lives.  

When Liza Winthrop first lays eyes on Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there’s something special between them. Soon, their close friendship develops into a deep and intimate romance. Neither imagined that falling in love could be so wonderful, but as Liza and Annie’s newfound sexuality sparks conflict in both their families and at their schools, they discover it will take more than love for their relationship to succeed.
One of the first books to positively portray a lesbian relationship, Annie on My Mind is a groundbreaking classic of the genre. The subject of a First Amendment lawsuit over banned books and one of School Library Journal’s “One Hundred Books that Shaped the Century,” Nancy Garden’s iconic novel is an important story for anyone discovering who they’re meant to be.

My thoughts:

I am not a member of the LGBT community, but this book was on the suggested read list at my old high-school. I like taking chances and reading books outside of my regular "comfort zone" (military and historical fiction). I must say, the literary quality of "Annie on My Mind" is superb. I understand it was written in 1982 and was one of the first books depicting and advocating for a same-sex romance, but it feels like it was written in the 19th century. The language is very elaborate, articulate and exalted. Kids just don't talk like this anymore. It made me pine for the "good old days" when people, regardless of age, actually spoke in complete sentences and maintained eye contact - God forbid. How did we go from such gorgeous prose to one-liner grunts "Like ... you know ... whatever." The two girls in the novel are very intelligent, articulate and creative without coming across as pretentious. I wish more modern teens read this book just to make them realize what they are missing: real language, real conversations, real feelings. 

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